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Winter Carnivals of Maine, presented by the Maine Ski & Snowboard Museum
On Thursday, January 27, at 6:00 pm, the Camden Public Library will host a memorable online presentation by Glenn Parkinson, President and Historian for the Maine Ski and Snowboard Museum. Parkinson will share the fun and excitement of Maine's Winter Carnivals with a look through the program books, newspaper articles, and even film from the events. This program complements an exhibit that will be on view in the Camden Public Library from January 4 through 30, 2022.

The 1920s were a period of excitement, scientific advances, and robust optimism. Cities and towns across Maine hosted elaborate Winter Carnivals, held over several days. There was always a "Ball" over which the King and Queen of the Carnival presided. Ski jumping dominated the sporting events. In 1924 the Portland Press Herald wrote, “When a crowd of over 5,000 people gather in one locality to witness an event, something must be going on. That’s how it was at the Western Promenade when ski jumpers of international fame lifted howling masses of humans into the heights of excitement and ecstasy.”

The Great Depression brought these city-wide parties to a stop. Winter Carnivals returned in the 1930's, but there were changes. Most had moved to northern Maine locations and featured grueling three-day, 100-mile-long ski races. There was still a Queen and King at the Ball, but the tone was much more athletic and serious.

In Camden, the 1930s brought the opening of the Snow Bowl and the Toboggan Chute. The Winter Carnival featured skiing, horse racing, cars of the future and, of course, lightning-fast toboggans on the slopes of the Snow Bowl and the ice of Hosmer Pond. The tradition carries on today with Camden's Winterfest and the US National Toboggan Championships.

Join us to learn more about the rich history of Winter Carnivals in Maine. The program is part of the Maine Ski & Snowboard Museum's Cocoa Chronicles series, sponsored by Oakhurst Dairy and the Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council.

Jan 27, 2022 06:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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